“Trainer save” added to Biggest Loser; cast includes 462-pound Ruben Studdard

American Idol 2 winner Ruben Studdard will be on the 15th season of The Biggest Loser this fall; the 462-pound singer will be “the show’s first celebrity player,” according to NBC, and he’s also the season’s biggest person. The 15-person cast also includes Olympic weightlifter Holley Mangold.

Also a first: the trainers helped cast the show, and will each be allowed to save one contestant during the season–kind of like Tim Gunn’s new power on Project Runway. That continues a trend of reality competitions giving people second chances, which perhaps not coincidentally is this season’s theme.

In a preview video, linked in the playlist below, Jillian says, “This game is fundamentally unfair, because it is a game.” She says the save is “the great equalizer” because the contestants “want to be worth saving” so they will work harder and rely less on alliances.

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.